My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

PARIS, Monday—Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Y. Vishinsky made a rather unfortunate impression in trying to be funny in his speech denouncing the Western disarmament plan set forth last week by President Truman. One paper here headed its story: "The Tragic Laughter." Then it went on to say that Mr. Vishinsky's speech would make one laugh if the international situation could offer the people anything amusing.

It seems a pity that Mr. Vishinsky took so little time to ponder what might be the results of the plan offered by the three powers—Great Britain, France and the U.S. His counter proposal began with a long series of condemnations. He wishes to make illegal the production of all atomic weapons. But he does not realize that before you completely wipe out something you go through stages of reduction, and if a nation is powerful in some other way you must equalize that power as you go along.

Hence, the proposed inventory as suggested by President Truman would be necessary, with a gradual move from one stage to another till an agreement was reached as to how disarmament would be progressively accomplished. In the end, each nation would reach the point of agreeing to retain only what would be necessary for defence and policing under an international agreement.

I have heard some criticism of the percentage system suggested for both men under arms and production of war material, but as I understand it, this system is just one method that might be used. There was no suggestion that if better plans were brought forward they might not be adopted.

The general debate went on Saturday with good speeches by the delegates from New Zealand, Cuba and Honduras and then speeches followed by the heads of four specialized agencies—the International Labor Office, the Food and Agriculture Organization, UNESCO and the World Health Organization.

I lunched yesterday with Sir Gladwyn Jebb and Lady Jebb. They occupy a charming house owned by three American Sisters, and it does seem an ideal arrangement for such a guest as Foreign Minister Anthony Eden, who must come and go between Paris and London frequently.

We, in the United States, are gradually building on somewhat the same system for civil service officials which the British have so well developed. Men such as Sir Gladwyn remain in office regardless of the party in power and are able to help the new party coming in by their knowledge of past events and policies.

They are almost indispensible in foreign affairs which, as a rule, should not change in fundamentals regardless of which political party comes to power within a country. This, of course, presupposes unity within a country as regards foreign affairs and a bipartisan policy at all times. In our country we seem to have difficulty with this now and then, but I hope that, outside of campaign years, we manage to achieve this mature attitude fairly well.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL